Sparse Lone bubbles of air wafted upward through the dank and dark waters of the Pit as shadows darted to and from the jagged outcroppings of what was once an underwater fortress. A faint glimmer shone through the dim waters, a dimensional portal was opening in one of the long abandoned cells. Two beings exited, one massive and the other a Toa. The duo silently faded away.
‘He can’t just leave me here to drown!’ thought the cerulean armored Toa frantically.
The Toa hurriedly scanned her surroundings, hoping for some sort of escape. Far above, she could see the daylight breaking through the surface of the sea. She began her lengthy swim as the pain started to hit, her air supply dwindling.
She called upon the power of her Kualsi but it would not respond. Her lungs were exhausting themselves as she pushed forward, just yards from the surface all movement stopped. She was conscious, but just barely; and so the changes began.
Her mask fused to her now slightly elongated face as a single small horn sprouted from the back of her head, curling inward once it finished growing, with small tentacles on either side of it. Her arms now sprouted thick fan like fins out of her lower arms, growing from her elbows down to her wrists, near her now slightly webbed and clawed hands.
All the while, from her lower back a thin tail began to grow, ending in sharp claws. Finally another set of fan like fins grew from her waist as her legs morphed to match her new body, her armor gaining a scale-like quality; The Toa of Lightning now similar to a Proto Drake, was beginning the unconscious drift to the seafloor.
She fully came to a stop upon the seabed, her tail twitching. Her emerald eyes began scanning her surroundings as she stood up, ‘So I’m underwater, and I’m breathing, that’s new.’ thought the Toa. A school of fish swam nearby, “I wonder…” she said, raising her clawed hand and directing shining bolts of energy at the mass of organic fish.
The bolts of electricity struck, but not their intended targets; a mutated Takea Shark had dispersed the fish and incidentally caught the full impact, stunning itself. The Toa was caught off guard by the predator and a bolt of electricity arced back toward her, striking her on the left side of her head, narrowly missing her eye.
She stumbled backwards as the shark fled, having regained its senses. Her cerulean mask left with a scar running from her left brow down to her lower cheek, the energy turning the gash a vibrant sapphire.
“You filthy fish; be thankful I’m not blind!” she yelled after the shark.
“Who are you, and why are you yelling at one of Pridak’s sharks?” a voice asked from behind, a low chuckle in the tone of the voice.
“Wait, what, who are you?” she blurted as she whirled to face the newcomer.
This being was short and his armor was faded, but could barely be recognized as washed out crimson and gray. A sort of, what the Toa could only guess was a breathing apparatus, was adorning the stranger’s mask, a crimson noble Miru hidden beneath.
“Alright, if you want it to go this way, my name is Varel. Why were you sent here?” he asked, his expression become one of annoyance.
“The names Kania, and I’d prefer not saying why I’m here.” She said, her expression darkening. “We don’t see many toa of lightning down here," he commented, his demeanor now one of slight interest. "You're welcome to stay in my home cave if you need." He gestured toward a dim wall far in the distance.
Kania withdrew her anger as best she could, and took to following the matoran.
Varel had led her to a cave set into the side of a wide underwater chasm at the base of the wall, the place he called his "Home". Her anger had subsided.
“You said Pridak earlier, surely you don’t mean...?” she asked him. “Indeed, I do, and you should stay here or find a cave of your own to hide in, I don’t care if you stay." He went to work at organizing his possessions scattered about.
"You’ll just want to steer clear of Pridak for a while, after injuring his shark like that. Nasty scar that bolt left.” He chuckled.
“Well I’m here to stay then.” She said sitting down upon a worn stone, a grimace forming upon her distorted face. Varel uncovered a dim lighstone set into the wall and removed the apparatus he wore, revealing himself to be a water breather. Kania was caught a bit off guard at this.
"I see you're a bit surprised at my state, eh?" he chuckled. "Better get used to yours as well."
Changing the subject she asked curtly “Why are you here anyway?”
“I’m not here through my own will. I’m from Mahri Nui, but you wouldn’t know what that is by any means. I was thrown out of there into these waters, and I changed, ever since then I’ve been trying to repair this breathing apparatus, I absolutely hate it out here.” He said, cursing his foolishness for getting himself kicked out of the city.
“So you were sent here just like I, through foolish actions.” Kania said humorously, ending with a chuckle. Her tail slightly swishing about behind her.
Varel had no sooner drawn a blade and was approaching the Toa when she had said this. “Don't laugh about it, I’d assume what I did was no better than your exploit.” He bitterly snapped back.
"Alright, calm down." Kania replied, holding up her hands; the fins on her arm scraped along the wall. "You're snappy." she finished, rolling her eyes.
"Takes one to know one." he snapped back, letting a low chuckle escape not soon after.
'Heh, he's smart.' Kania thought as she stared out into the dim waters of the ocean, fish darting to and fro. She failed to notice a dark figure swimming into a trench far off; a lone Takea shark, a wounded Takea Shark.
"So there’s a newcomer, eh." A voice whispered from deep within the dark cave. "Looks like it’s time for a hunt, wouldn’t you say?" he continued, asking the shark with a very brutal looking burn in its hide, next to him.
It swam around slowly, but approvingly.
Pridak smiled viciously. "Good, let us go." he finished, standing up from his seat.
The tyrant began his trek to the open waters of the Pit.
"We should get moving, that shark you hit should have reported back to Pridak by now." Varel stated. "Do you have a weapon, Aside from your powers, which are a bit dangerous down here?" he gestured to the Scar on Kania's face.
In response, she mentally tried to summon her old broadsword, to no avail. "I suppose I don’t," she grimaced at the thought of being practically defenseless.
"Catch." Varel called.
Kania caught the Hammer he had thrown to her. It was a hefty piece of work. Obviously an old warhammer from times passed. "Thanks." she said, inspecting the tool.
"Found that thing beneath Mahri Nui last year, I think it was a Toa Tool from millennia ago." he gestured, packing a few items. "Anyway, you can keep it, it’s too heavy for me to use properly."
"Thanks." she said graciously. A smile spread on her face as she rose from the stone she was seated upon. "Now, where do you plan on going?"
"I'll take you to Mahri Nui, they should be welcoming to you. Provided you don’t mention you met me." he said, his voice sounded sad to her. "They can use your help."
"I thought you hated them for throwing you out though?" Kania asked, confused. Bubbles drifted from the seaweed growing in the wall.
Varel spun around, "Just because I hate the ones who banished me, doesn’t mean I still don’t care about their wellbeing. I've been trying to earn my way back in for years now!" he snapped.
Taken aback by his outburst, she softly replied "I'm sorry, I understand, now."
"It's fine, I wouldn’t expect you to understand at first." he apologetically said; he picked up a strange tool off of a shelf carved in the wall.
"What is that?" she said, momentarily distracted from the previous conversation, interest taking hold.
"It's a weapon, of my design, ever heard of Zamor Sphere Launchers?" he asked.
Kania nodded silently.
"I modified one to shoot anything you can find, specifically these," he said holding up a strange looking transparent sphere. "Air spheres, harvested from airweed," he smiled. "It creates a personal air bubble around the target that lasts for a decent while."
"Harmless to air breathers, toxic to water breathers such as us. Unless you have one of those." he gestured toward his breathing apparatus. "That allows the user to breathe water, or air, in case of malfunction, or just in general."
"Fascinating." Kania said as she gave the weapon the look over. "What is the maximum ammunition capacity for this?"
"It’s good for 6 shots before it needs reloading." he answered, grabbing another pack, this one full of clips of ammunition.
"Keep that one, I have more. I'll show you how to get Air from airweed later." Varel said, gathering another launcher, and his pack. "We have to pass the fields on our way anyway."
"Let’s go then!" Kania said energetically, making her way into the open water, readying the launcher as she rose. Her scar glinted dimly in the low light.
Tiny fish darted away from the snowy Barraki as he glided though the water, his Takea in tow. The mutant second handedly sliced through one of the tiny organisms with his blades, as though it were simply a weed.
"Build up your energy, and gather the rest of your brethren for later. I'll go have some fun with this toa you so kindly pointed out to me." he commanded, a slight grin on his face, his companion darting into the gloom.
'Finally a challenge, rather than those other fools.' he thought, momentarily thinking of his fellow Barraki.
He continued onward, in the direction of his prey, the electrical fields that the Toa gave off were his guide.
"Be watchful, he's likely to be around here somewhere, or not far behind." Varel said, cautiously looking in every direction, deep into the ocean's dim waters, for any sign of a threat.
"You need to calm down some. It's easier to sense danger when you're calm." Kania said, glancing around, observing the undersea landscape. The surrounding area was practically a mesa, save for the slight hill here and there.
Bubbles drifted silently away from growths of sparse airweed.
"My attack left a nasty scar on that shark, didn’t it?" she asked, curious as to what had happened during the moment she had been stunned.
"Heh, you could definitely say that." Varel chuckled. "The thing was pretty badly burned, I’m sure it’s still feeling you're misfire." he left off with a silent smile.
"Well, I suppose It’s a good thing my power is amplified so well through the water, it’s just too bad it’s so dangerous." she grimaced toward the open water. Her tail and tentacles twitched, due to her displeasure.
"Agh!" Varel shouted.
Her tail had hit him in the side of his chest, leaving a slight gash.
She immediately cursed her situation for the tail, and the fact she had hurt him. "Are you alright?" she said hurrying to help him.
"Ah, I'm fine, just a surface wound, mainly caught me off guard." he said, his tone a bit amused. "Thick armor!" he tapped his chestplate.
Kania chuckled, "Sorry, I'm still not used to having this." she said, gesturing to her tail as it swayed back and forth. "I need to learn how to control it," she said in an annoyed tone.
"Its fine." he replied with a smile.
The duo regained their sense of direction and began their journey again.
"We're almost there, it's just past the ledge ahead. Just wait till you see it." Varel said, trailing behind Kania only slightly. The duo moved through the water swiftly, approaching the steep drop off. A trench of many dangers lay below.
"So that’s Mahri Nui..." Kania stated, impressed at the domed village off in the distance, little specks of color moving this way and that inside of it. "Home..." Varel said longingly. The landscape was capped by the looming Pillars of Salt far off on the Horizon.
"And a terrible annoyance, but plentiful hunting ground." a cold voice said from behind. There, behind Varel and Kania, stood the snowy colored mutant tyrant, his natural crimson markings making him all the more menacing. He raised his Shark Tooth Blades.
"You know, I don’t like it when someone hurts one of my sharks, they are all so loyal, trustworthy creatures," his blue eyes glowing angrily. He took a few steps toward them.
Kania drew her warhammer and launcher. Varel did the same with his blade.
The Toa's tail began twitch wildly, she cursed it. "What do you want of us?"
"Oh that's simple, you hurt my soldier, I hurt you." the sharklike figure replied. His smile faded into a stare of analytic certainty. Even though they were all surrounded by the endless water, Kania and Varel could hear the swish of the liquid as Pridak lunged toward them.
In the short time that he had, Kania raised the warhammer. Pridak hadn’t anticipated Kania's newfound speed, which she marveled at. He promptly smashed shoulder first into the weapon. A muffled clang resounded through the water, followed by a guttural shout of pain from Pridak.
He cursed violently.
Kania utilized this opening she had inadvertently gained and slammed the hammer head first onto Pridak, who now lay on his chest upon the seafloor. She pinned him down as best she could with it, knocking away Pridak's weapons in the process.
"Did you think I would be an easy picking?!" Kania shouted at him, he scar glowing with electric energy. An idea sparked in her mind.
Pridak didn’t answer.
"Answer me!" she demanded, still no reply. At this she kicked him onto his back and held him to the ground with her foot, bubbles drifted from the lone airweed plant nearby. She placed the head of the warhammer in the gash that it had created in Pridak's armor.
"You wouldn’t..." he whispered, his heightened senses alerting him to what she was doing.
Kania's anger grew, like a boiling pit of molten magma, ready to blow. "Try me." she spat.
Varel could feel it in the water as well, he ran for cover. There was no way he could stop Kania, at least he figured that.
"You're a Toa! You would never do anything so against your belie-" the Barraki leader was cut off as electricity arced in the water around him, the source being the warhammer's head. Kania's demeanor contained no remorse, whatsoever.
Electrical energy sparked in her eyes. Pridak writhed in pain.
"You go about, hurting so many people, it's why you're here." she ceased channeling her energy and raised the warhammer from Pridak's wound. "And then you go and attack me, and my friend for some petty reason? You deserve this torture!" she shouted as she struck the beastly being with the warhammer.
Pridak felt something he hadn’t felt in a long time as Kania began to raise the Warhammer, fear. "Please, don’t!" he begged. The ruthless leader forced to groveling for mercy.
"I'll do anything!" he pleaded.
Her eyes didn’t betray what Pridak knew was coming. "No." she coldly said. The hammer began to fall. He closed his eyes.
A whiz was heard, than a strange gurgling noise, the hammer fell to the seafloor with a muffled thud.
"So this is why you're here." Varel said, lowering his launcher, more of a statement than a question. Kania was encased in a strange transparent bubble, it was compressed of air. She was drowning in air.
"Go Pridak, I won’t be able to stop her after she escapes from that." he said, "I may hate you, but I don’t condone killing, not even of beings as evil as you. Now go." he commanded.
In this rare instance, the monstrous being obeyed, shooting a look of hateful thanks to Varel. He darted into the dank waters of the ocean, and out of sight.
Varel approached the struggling Kania, "So, you can’t control your anger, is that it?" he said to the near spent toa. Kania's air supply dwindled slowly, she then slipped into unconsciousness.
Once she had passed out, Varel dispersed the bubble, she was breathing properly again.
He took to dragging her through the sea towards a more secluded location, one down near the airweed fields. All the while he thought, 'What is she...'
Hours after the near killing of Pridak, Kania began to awaken. Slowly, through blurred vision, she came to. "What happened...?” she blearily blurted out.
"I had to stop you." Varel said plainly. He stood up, "Get up, we need to talk."
"Did I go crazy with anger...?" she said painfully, her tail curled around her body.
"Yes." he replied quietly.
Kania let lose a quiet sob, sorrow gripping her. "How man did I kill this time?!" she quietly cried.
"No one, you nearly ended Pridak though." Varel replied. That eased her pain slightly, though she asked "Why didn’t I kill him? I usually can’t be stopped, forgive me but I completely lose all sense during these fits and I can’t remember what I've done afterward."
"I shot you," he simply said, holding the air launcher up, as if he were inspecting it.
She was a bit surprised by this. "So, I passed out from lack of oxygen then." she let loose a saddened chuckle and cursed her uncontrollable ferocity.
"Yeah, I had to drag you down here out of the open. Oh, and I don’t think Pridak will be coming after you again, you gave him quite the scare!" he said, finishing happily.
She gave him a weak smile in return.
"Where are we anyway?" she actually began to take in her surroundings. They we're sitting near the mouth of a cave, much closer to Mahri Nui than they were before, she could make out the matoran clearly now.
The cave itself was a barren hole, mainly used as storage outside of the harvest season according to Varel, empty for most of the year. "This place should be a fair rest stop." he said, looking around. She quietly nodded, curling up against the wall.
"What happened back there anyway..?" Varel finally broke the silence of the tiny alcove.
Kania sobbed silently, but answered his question. "I've always been this way, ever since I was a Matoran, though I wasn’t as harmful then." she said, trying to uncurl her tail from around herself.
"Any time someone made me angry, no matter if the incident was big or small. I always went into a tirade." she closed her eyes, remembering her past.
"One day, I can’t remember how long ago, I just seemed to gain some sort of control over my anger. Life went on fine from there, then I became a Toa. I spent many more years protecting my village with my team, not a single sense that I had ever been that angry little Matoran."
She placed a clawed hand upon the wall, scratching it here and there.
"Then that day came..."
"The day the Dark Hunter came." she whispered, barely audible through the water. Her eyes snapped open, sadness overwhelming them.
As Kania recalled, she retold the happenings of the last year to Varel, who sat there, listening intently.
"It began around a year ago. Matoran began to go missing, here and there. No real connection to one another; Demar and Harer, my fellow Toa, and I couldn't figure anything out. The missing Matoran, it just didn't add up."
"This went on for near the entire year, a matoran went missing at least once a month. Each disappearance grating at my patience more and more." She let out a sad sigh.
"Then, just four months ago, Demar and I were out on patrol."
"We heard a scream, It was a good friend of mine, the only other person who I could really get along with. When we made it to her hut, we saw her, hanging from the blade of a Dark Hunter. Harer was nowhere to be found."
"I could only stand there as Demar took to trying to bring the Dark Hunter down, the rage was boiling inside of me, I knew what was coming. This had never happened before in my time as a toa." her eyes closed remorsefully.
"Curse that Dark Hunter to eternal suffering in Karzahnii." she whispered, a small school of fish swam by outside.
"I couldn't control the anger, I still can't; it was welling up inside, as if my rage were and endless abyss. I was unknowingly gathering every bit of electrical energy I could from the area."
"Surely you aren't implying what I think you are..." Varel said quietly, having a good idea of what she was about to say.
"A nova blast." the words escaped her mouth silently, she slammed her fist into the wall and cried.
"Over half of the village's population, Demar, the Dark Hunter, and nearly every building, destroyed." her tail had unwrapped itself and swayed violently, striking the cave walls.
She sat there sobbing for a good while, Varel just let her be, knowing he couldn't console her.
When Kania had finally calmed down, the Ta-Matoran said to her "I am truly sorry, and to think I thought what I did was near what you had done." he said apologetically.
He approached the Toa and placed a hand on her shoulder, she looked into his eyes.
"Look, now I know, and I understand. You couldn't help yourself." he tried to cheer her up.
"I'm sure I would've gone and blown my top if my best friend had been, taken from me like that." he chose his words carefully. "Now come on, I'll tell you what I did, since you were so kind as to tell me that."
He offered a smile, his Miru a welcoming sight to her sad heart, 'A real friend in this harsh place.' she thought, returning his smile with a hug.
"Where shall I begin..." he mused.
Kania meanwhile, had stopped sobbing, and calmed her tail. She was clearly more coherent, though the sadness still consumed her. She focused her attention on Varel as he began his tale.
"It happened about ten years ago. I was an engineer in Mahri Nui, I was usually always tasked with inventing new ways to ward off the Barraki. I was always successful, until that day." he glanced sadly toward the city in the distance.
"It was a simple mistake in my design, something I shouldn't have overlooked. I was designing this." he said, hold up the air launcher. "I've managed to perfect the design since then."
"But, as I was saying, a simple little flaw, it caused such a disaster." he pounded his against the wall. "The first field test, doomed to fail. It wasn't too far past here."
"The launcher jammed, no one could tell what was wrong, as I was making my way to inspect it, the device exploded in the user's hands. The shockwave caused his air bubble to wither away, as well as four others."
"They either died from lack of oxygen, or mutated, three survived, and now live out here in the Pit." his voice wavered with sadness as Kania's had earlier.
"The elder saw fit to banish me for one small mistake, granted it was a stupid one. To keep me from doing anything as foolish as that ever again." he finished, "I've been out here ever since then, perfecting this launcher, and fending for myself."
The Toa and Matoran sat across from one another, their sorrow moods obvious. Though, through this sorrow, they still shared weak smiles. A friendship formed between them.
The duo exited the small alcove near daybreak, as evident by the shining light pouring in from the surface. They had rested the night and were in better moods on this day.
"The currents are oddly calm today." Varel said, taking notice of the near stagnant water. "This is strange." he silently finished, drawing his blade instinctively. Kania glanced around, first to the cliffs behind them, then around to Mahri Nui and onto the Pillars of Salt. She noticed something, or, didn't notice something.
The normally active sea life she had seen since she'd been exiled here, it was nowhere to be seen.
"Is it normal, for the sea life to be so, absent?" she asked, silently analyzing the surroundings. "Can we breathe air?" he smartly replied as he passed her, keeping a lookout.
The two continued, gliding silently through the water, dusty murk rising from around their feet. Mahri Nui loomed ahead. It's impressive air domes gleaming even through the gloomy sea.
The airweed fields lay ahead.
Dark shapes darted away from the distant cliffs, bound directly for the sunken city. A familiar scorned being leading the pack, unknowing of what he was swimming towards.
"And that, my friend, is how you gather air from airweed, though you can only gather so much without the help of a hydruka." the Ta-Matoran finished extracting a sphere of the clear gas from the leafy weed; he stashed it away into one of his packs. A dark figured approached them from behind.
"Thank you for teaching me, though I still say this is downright strange. A weed the excretes air." Kania said as she stood back up from her kneel. The waters began to move.
"Sure, you'll never run out of ammunition as long as you're near one of these plan-" Varel stopped mid sentence and spun around, blade drawn. "Something is coming."
Kania, though reluctant at having to face a fight again, attempted to draw her warhammer. She cursed.
"What's wrong?" Varel asked, looking around observantly, the airweed fields calm as ever.
"My Launcher and warhammer, you didn't grab them did you?" she asked, going into a defensive stance.
Varel cursed, "How could I have forgotten them!"
"It looks like I have only hand-to-hand combat to rely on. My powers are too dangerous to use down here." Kania said, her tail twitching wildly, fins flared. She caught sight of movement in the corner of her eye.
The toa of lightning's head darted to stare at the oncoming horde of Takea sharks, headed by Pridak.
"It's him again, though it doesn't look like he's heading toward us..." she said, confused. It didn't take Varel long to piece it together.
"He's Heading to Mahri Nui!" he shouted, bolting toward the city as fast as he could, donning a breathing apparatus along the way. Kania followed, catching another apparatus as the
matoran tossed it to her. She too slipped on the device.
"Get ready, we're heading in!" Varel shouted. The dome of air loomed only but tens of yards ahead of them. Matoran inside stared, guards rushing to the edge the duo neared, weapons drawn.
The Ta-Matoran didn't halt his run, but turned around and held the launcher up in the direction of the oncoming horde. The guards inside took notice and sounded the alarm, they moved aside to let the toa and matoran through, understanding their purpose in Mahri Nui. They had time, but not much.
There was a clattering as the two fell through the membrane of the air dome, The launcher rolled across the stone street. Kania clattered to a stop against the wall of a small hut, she had slammed back first into the stone facade. She let out a yelp of pain. Something in her mind shifted as if a veil had been lifted from her.
Varel meanwhile had crashed into a cart of food, sending it all flying down the street. Matoran rushed to help them up. Guards were rushing to their defense posts village-wide, wielding crude launchers.
"Varel, is that you?" a voice asked, it belonged to someone that had helped him up. Varel took a moment to regain his senses. He nodded to the Elder that had banished him, shooting an angered look toward the old Fe-Turaga.
"I told you not to return, why are you here?" the turaga of iron demanded. The bitter Ta-Matoran recovered his launcher, and spat back. "I'm here giving you warning of that!" he finished, pointing to the ever closer army of sharks. He tossed the launcher to Kania, who was still dazed from her impact. The Ta-Matoran drew his blade.
"I see." the elder said quietly, "I'd call for the guards, but it seems you've alerted them well enough already. What is that curious device?" he referred to the launcher.
"It's the air launcher, I fixed the design, it works as it should now." he said, approaching the reinforced membrane of air, his voice didn't waver once in his statement. Kania had regained her composure.
" If you're sure about this then, how many can you make before Pridak arrives?" the elder asked.
Varel was caught off guard at this, he spun around. "Five, six at most, but what are you getting at?
"I'll supply you with the parts, you make them, and if we live through this, you're welcome to return here. I see you can breathe fine with that device." the old one finished. Varel stared dumbfounded.
"I banished you out of anger, yes, but I came to regret it. You were our best weapons expert, and I hope that you'll accept my apology, and retake that job." the elder gave an apologetic look.
"You think, that after everything that I've been through out there, because of You! That I would just return like that?" he angrily shouted. "I wouldn't expect you to, but I would expect someone like you to help protect all of your old friends. Don't do this for me, Mata Nui forbid." the leader finished, motioning toward the crowd in the streets, and the rest of the village.
Varel took it in, hundreds of matoran resided here, and Pridak wouldn't spare any, that he knew.
"I'll do it." he replied.
Kania interjected, "You better hurry, I'll try and hold the sharks off as best I can, but if I use too much of my power, I risk killing everything for kio around." she said, "I'll certainly need that launcher."
Varel didn't hesitate, he knew how to build the weapon from the ground up. He relinquished it to his friend. "Who is she?" the elder asked. "I'll explain on the way, now take me to where the parts are."
Kania gathered an ordinary stone from near the edge of town, she wrapped it in a cloth she had torn from her pack along with a note. She pulled aside a matoran that was joining Varel and the elder to the armory. "Can I ask you to give this to Varel?" she said to the Ga-Matoran, the little one nodded and gave her a smile.
"And tell him, that if I don't return, He's a good friend. Thanks." The toa gave a kind smile to the villager as she darted off in pursuit of the crowd following Varel and the elder. 'If I don't return, at least this place will be in good hands.' she thought as she dove into the sea once more, the air launcher primed to fire.
Kania rushed through the sea, darting past the rocky outcroppings blocking her path. She propelled herself with her fins, and to her own surprise, her tail. It heeded her ever wish, she had control over it for the first time since she'd gained it.
She stopped short of Pridak's group, though still well away from Mahri Nui. She had a little time before he came upon her location. She began to test her abilities, to her own bewilderment.
She thought something changed when she smashed into that wall back in the village.
Her tail swished back and forth, and sliced undersea weed at her command, the tip razor sharp. Then she had an idea when her mind momentarily drifted to the thought of the launcher, she quickly primed it with one shot, purely to test her theory.
Her scar began to glow with electric energy, she closed her eyes and concentrated, focusing the power into a single point; inside of the loaded shot. A shining point of the power that a toa of lightning could summon.
Her eyes snapped back open and searched for a target. They fell upon a lone Takea shark, prowling near a small set of holes in the ground; it was not with Pridak's army. 'One less to worry about.' she thought, getting into a proper stance. She hoped that Pridak wouldn't sense this.
She pulled the trigger. The round of electrified oxygen flew out of the launcher's barrel, straight and true. The shot first engulfed the shark in a transparent bubble of air, then the elemental energy struck. The gas contained the power, it never conducted through the sea. The shark was killed upon impact.
'I'm sorry, but if this can help me better protect the matoran, so be it.' she thought, the shark drifted to seabed. Kania took to finding a decent vantage point for when the school of beasts were to pass.
The mass of dark shapes approached from the west.
Varel hammered into place the firing mechanism on the seventh launcher, he had surprised himself, beating his estimation. There was still enough time for him to make yet another.
"Quick, gather me the parts for another." he commanded his old work partner who rushed to gather the components.
Water pumped through the transparent tubes of his breathing apparatus quickly as he turned to face the elder, glancing out the window into the sea, he could see the army of sharks nearing, though still some ways out.
"I know my mistake hurt so many, but really, was it grounds for banishment?" he asked sadly. His eyes observantly scanned the seafloor in between the village and Pridak's band of beasts. He thought he caught sight of Kania moving though the craggy seascape at one point.
The elder took a seat.
"I am sorry for what I did, truly, I've always been too quick to rule judgment, you knew that." he quietly said, his apology not affecting Varel as he had hoped it would. The Ta-Matoran took a seat as well.
"You don't know what I've had to do to survive out there!" he spat, slamming his hand onto the nearby worktable.
"I..." the elder was lost for words.
"Save it, I'll help protect everyone here, but afterwards, I want nothing to do with you." Varel said harshly. A knock on the door was heard.
Varel answered it.
A Ga-Matoran stood outside the doorway, she held a strange package. "The toa you were with wished me to deliver this to you, and she also said that you're a good friend." he received the cloth wrapped object.
"Thank you." he said, she smiled, then darted off to help prepare the defenses. He went back to his seat while he waited for his colleague to return with the launcher's components. He set the package on his worktable.
"It's from Kania..." he said quietly, as he began to unwrap it.
The wrappings had concealed a stone, engraved with a pearl white symbol of the matoran virtues; and a note.
"What is this...?" he wondered aloud, eyeing the stone, then picking up the note.
"Well, she seems to see you fit to join the ranks of the toa then? I presume that's what the note says." the old one said, staring him down, gesturing with his staff.
"What, but how did you know?" Varel inquired. Steps were heard approaching, a clatter, then the exasperated sigh of Varel's work associate.
"I know a toa stone when I see one, remember I used to be a toa after all." he stated, eyeing the stone upon the table. "You'll know when the time is right to use it."
"But me, A toa?" his thoughts drifted back to when he happened upon his cerulean friend shouting at Pridak's shark only days before. He chuckled. His work associate stumbled in, arms full of the necessary components. The clattered onto the table loudly.
"This should be everything." the assistant said, eyeing the things he had brought. The bustling of matoran could be heard in the streets below. Their two story vantage giving them a good view of what was happening.
"It's been so long since a Barraki has attacked the village, do they ever have any reason, that we do not know." the elder mused aloud, his voice echoing throughout the chamber.
"This time, I think Pridak may, just to blow off steam, in a sense." Varel answered, "The toa that was with me, nearly killed him yesterday, my guess is he's just bitter about begging for mercy as he did."
"That toa nearly killed him...?" the elder asked in near disbelief. His aged yellow eyes full of wisdom, and yet, a spark of wonder.
"She's, different. I ask that neither of you tell anyone else, I doubt she'd want them to know." he began to recount what he had learned of Kania as he pieced together the latest launcher.
The two agreed to his request.
A cerulean figure lurked in the shadows of a craggy pillar of rock, fish were swimming about, paying her no heed, she crouched as she made her way into position. She could see the massive threat of nearly a hundred sharks approaching. The time was upon her, she hid in a small alcove, ready to strike, launcher at the ready.
The menacing beast of a leader that led the pack didn't waver in his resolve, his focus completely on destroying something. Had he taken notice of his senses, he would've sensed that a fear loomed ahead.
Kania suppressed her power as best she could, hoping Pridak wouldn't take notice. She waited until the army had passed, and then shot out of the alcove, propelling herself with her fins and tail, she charged her first shot, aimed at 3 grouped tightly together, and fired.
The 3 sharks fell, without the notice of their comrades.
'3 down, a lot more to go.' she thought, as she swift fully navigated the rough seafloor. She silently fired 5 more charged shots, eliminating nearly ten more of the beasts. They we're nearing Mahri Nui now, she noticed, and cursed. Another clip of ammunition was shoved into the launcher.
The final component of the last launcher slid into place, the water in Varel's breathing apparatus surged as he took a sigh of happiness. "That should do it, Eight launchers done and ready, just load them with the air from airweed and you're good to go." he finished.
He could see dim flashes through the window, in the pack of oncoming beasts, 'She's picking them off.' he thought. His mind drifted back to the toa stone as his assistant carted the launcher's to their new masters.
"I see it bother you, does it?" the old one asked inquisitively from his seat across the room, a slight echo resounding.
"I'm content with being a matoran, why she gave me this is beyond me." Varel said, toying with the stone in his grip.
"She sees something in you, something enough to find you fit for the mold of a toa." his leader answered. "Trust me, this I know well."
"I will trust you on this, but this alone. I've only known her for a short time, but, she shouldn't be down here, it was only an accident that got her banished. They passed judgment on her as you did to me." Varel thought of the similarities to his banishment and Kania's.
"I would do anything to help her redeem herself. She at least deserves that." he whispered.
"If it were only possible, the Order of Mata Nui doesn't rescind order so easily." the turaga of iron said.
"What, the Order of Mata Nui?" Varel asked, confused. "I am an old member of the Order, I can help you with your plight, but I can tell you now, it won't be an easy feat. It is after all, the fact I owe you for what I've done."
Varel's feelings toward the old one were shifting. "If you could help me, I would forgive you." he said, approaching the turaga. "Now, tell me, who are the Order?" he demanded.
"I'm sorry young one, but as a member I was sworn to never reveal any information about the order."
"But, they only remember me as a toa, and likely consider me dead, so, I shall reveal all that I can to help you." he finished, standing up and placing a hand upon Varel's shoulder.
"Thank you turaga, but perhaps we best talk in transit." he said glancing out of the window, the sharks we nearly to the edge of the city. "I think you are right about that, now let's go,
Kania may very well need your help soon." the elder said as he proceeded though the door, and down the stairs.
Varel dashed after him.
Kania cursed, she had only managed to take out around a third of Pridak's fleet of monsters before exhausting her ammunition. There was no airweed to be spoken of near her. She stashed away the launcher and swam as fast as possible toward Mahri Nui, hoping to outpace the sharks.
Her dark form darting in between the gargantuan boulders in her path, she kept mindful to stick to the shadows.
'I'm not going to make it.' she thought angrily. 'I really have no choice, it's a risk I will have to take.'
"Yes, attack the city my children. Flood it, then hunt to your heart's content!" he shouted to his army, coming to a stop outside of Mahri Nui.
Kania shot out from the shadows, aiming for Pridak at the center of the remaining mass of sharks. He didn't notice her until it was too late. Her tail charged with a tiny amount of electricity, lashed out and sliced into Pridak's back, his fin torn in half, shocking him as well.
Pridak, let out a shrill scream of pain, his fin burned him with pain. "You insolent toa!" he swiped at her with his shark tooth blades. She quickly dodged.
She was worried it might happen again, the though always lingering in the back of her mind. She kept thinking, 'Keep calm.' as she said to Pridak "I'm not here to kill you, I am sorry for nearly having done so in our previous encounter, but I won't hesitate if you persist in your attack." She continued to dodge his vigorous swiping.
"Me, listen to you?!" he shouted amused. "You're more stupid than you look, I am Pridak, I bow to No One!" he stopped lashing out and his tactical senses took hold.
"You call me stupid, yet, you're facing a being who could easily, and nearly did kill you just a day before." she chided, amused as well. A weak smile flashing onto her face. her tail swayed behind her.
While all this was happening, 2 sharks had taken notice and come to Pridak's side. He responded to them by saying, "Be gone, I'll call for you if I need your help!" he chastised his soldiers. They swam away to berate Mahri Nui. He turned back to face the toa of lightning.
"Done with your pets are you?" she smirked. Pridak chuckled.
Varel ducked through the membrane of the air bubble along with the eight other matoran who carried the launcher's he had built. They were protected from the ocean by their own personal air bubbles and a secondary pre-emptive suit of sea diving gear. The launcher's were primed. The matoran split into their respective groups and took to firing upon the oncoming sharks.
"Don't let them get to the reinforcements!" he shouted back to the groups. "I have to help my toa friend, I'll be back!" he dashed towards Kania and Pridak, only a few hundred yards away.
He thought back to the note, and stopped to read it. Kania's message upon it burned into his mind.
He would do what he needed if it came to it. He repacked his items and continued on towards the fight.
Pridak lunged forward, slashing with his blades. Kania just barely dodged his attack, she took this opening and slammed the flat end of her tail into Pridak's back, bending what was left of his fin in a most unnatural way. He yelped in pain.
"You realize, you can't win this fight." she said sadly, trying her best to avoid having to kill him.
The tyrant snarled, "Maybe not alone, but I have an army!" he shouted, mentally calling a few sharks to his aid, realizing he needed help. They came from seemingly nowhere, one struck Kania broadside, knocking the breath out of her.
"They're a bit faster than I am, and understandably so. Their build is perfectly aerodynamic, or in this case aqua dynamic." he chuckled, he jammed one blade into Kania's shoulder, the same spot she had, in her fit of rage, attacked Pridak.
"Now I will make you feel the pain you inflicted upon me!" he shouted in her face, he kicked her. She cried out in pain. He wound the tip of his blade in her shoulder, and held down her tail with his foot. The pain sparked anger in her. She began to fear what was coming.
Then something in her mind made a realization, the anger had come to a halt.
Varel meanwhile, had come into full view of the fight. The first thing he saw, Kania being attacked mercilessly by Pridak. He was silently watching the beast kill her, rage filling his spirit.
He began to glow.
Kania was losing the fight, Pridak continued to berate her physically, laughing all the while, completely ignoring the glowing little matoran on the edge of the stony clearing.
Varel felt a power growing, his hand in his pack, grasping an object. He pulled it out, the toa stone imbuing him with its power. His stature increased, features becoming more prominent, some dulling. His blade changed with him, a blazing crimson long sword. The water's began to boil, bubbles rapidly appearing and floating upward.
His grip upon his blade not faltering once, The toa of fire dashed forward to save his friend.
"And now, I hope you feel the fear I felt!" Pridak growled into Kania's face. She cried out, before passing into unconsciousness. "Weak fool." he said, raising his shark tooth blade.
A flash of fiery crimson was all that was seen. Pridak's blades, fell to the seafloor, sliced in two, and disfigured by the heat. A hand fell upon his shoulder and spun him around. A newcomer stood before him, and a fist flew forward to meet his jaw.
The tyrant was sent tumbling backward, his shark companions rushed to attack the toa, only to be boiled to death by his powers over fire and heat.
"I know I said I do not condone killing, but I may make an exception just this once." Toa Varel said, his sword blazing, his voice full of anger. Pridak was slowly recovering.
"Who, but how...?" he mustered, "My friend here is to thank." Varel smiled at Kania's limp body.
The toa began to approach the shark like beast, "I'll give you this one chance to leave, and Never attack Mahri Nui, or any of its inhabitants again, If you refuse, I will make you suffer."
"I do not take orders from toa!" the leader of the sharks bellowed.
"So be it." Varel slammed his sword broadside into Pridak's face, he was sent tumbling once more. He rose to his feet, rage spreading across his face. Varel continued his advance.
Pridak was weighing his options. He looked all around for a means of attack.
There were none.
Varel stood abreast to him, Pridak lashed out with his fist, only to be stopped by the toa of fire.
The toa held Pridak by the wrist, who struggled to free himself, to no avail. Varel began to intensify the heat in the water. The sharks fled, and Pridak began to weaken.
"Never hurt my friends." Varel whispered in Pridak's face, slamming his knee into Pridak's chest. The tyrant drifted into blackness, he fell limp. Varel let the brute's unconscious body drift to the seabed. He stared back towards Mahri Nui.
They city seem to be rejoicing, It seemed as if his launchers had worked, the sharks had either fled or died. He smiled a weak smile as he picked up Kania.
He affixed the breathing devices to his mask, and Kania's.
He began the trek home.
Kania's scar sparked slightly as her eyes snapped open, she sat upright in a hurry, almost jarring loose her breathing device. "What happened, where are we?" she asked looking around blearily, to no one in particular.
"You're back in Mahri Nui Kania. How is your shoulder doing?" a voice asked, she thought it sounded familiar. Her head turned toward the toa of fire, his great crimson Miru shining even in the dim light. A jolt of pain rush from her shoulder, she winced.
"It could be better." she muttered, holding it. "Though the better question is, how did the village fare?" she inquired her friend. "Everyone is fine, you were the only being to be injured, the healer matoran have been doing their best." he replied.
A voice interjected, "You made a wise choice in Varel, Kania." the turaga of iron was standing behind the toa of fire. "It seems to me if you hadn't given him the toa stone, you may very well have been killed."
Kania smiled slightly, "What happened though? All I remember is Pridak calling his sharks, and then a sharp pain, I was starting to fall into my rage again, but it for whatever reason never came." she finished surprised, but happy.
"Well, I came upon you and Pridak, and he was beating you, badly. No offense." he smiled awkwardly, she chuckled, "None taken."
"I saw him hurting you, and my hand flew to the toa stone, the power flowed through me. All I could think of doing was stopping his rampage, and saving a good friend." he held his hand out to help her to her feet, smiling at her.
Kania felt something she hadn't felt in a long time, she leapt up to give her friend a hug. Varel was surprised at her tight grip, and returned it.
"I'm glad I stumbled upon that silly toa shouting at that shark just a few days ago." he said, standing up.
Kania chuckled, "I'm glad you stumbled onto me." she grinned back.
"Varel," the elder interrupted "Don't you have a proposition for Kania?"
"Oh! Yes I do." the toa of fire turned to face his sister.
"I've come to information, that may just get you free of this place. I want to help get you free of here, but only if you're up to the journey." he said.
Kania was taken aback slightly, not once had she even thought of escape since she's been cast to the pit. She considered the idea impossible at that. "But I, I mean we can't leave Mahri Nui defenseless." she reasoned.
"I wouldn't worry about my fellow beings here. They held the sharks off without the help of any toa." he said confidently. "I can attest to that, this city is well in good hands on its own. Not that we don't appreciate the help and friendship of a trustworthy toa." the elder beamed to her.
She glanced from the elder to Varel, lost for words. She quietly nodded, a happy smile spreading upon her face. "Thank you." she said as she leapt to embrace her friend a second time.
"It's the least I can do." he said, a smile too, gripping his facade.
Kania quietly whispered to him "Varel, you are the first friend I have ever been able to truly thank. You've lifted me from my abyss of uncontrollable rage, with that said. Thank you brother."
The two toa clanged their fists together, ready to face whatever lay ahead of them.
So there you have it, my first REAL attempt at a short story, and as with anything I always welcome comments and criticism. :3
Edited by ~MatoroIgnika~, Feb 21 2012 - 11:28 PM.